January 4, 2019
January 4, 2019


KIEV 1874 – PARIS 1942

Raphaël Schwartz arrived in Paris very early, in 1892. He married a French aristocrat and settled in Villa des Ternes. His friend, the sculptor Jacques Loutchansky, described him as a distinguished man who had a great sense of humor and an active social life. In 1912, he produced a series of portraits of André Gide, Anatole France, Emile Verhaeren, Auguste Rodin, Henri Bergson, and his friends Claude Debussy and the mathematician Henri Poincaré. These portraits are gathered in a volume entitled Quelques hommes (Some Men), which was prefaced by Anatole France. A hundred copies of this work were printed.

During World War I, he adopted war orphans and was awarded the Légion d’Honneur. He abandoned the idea of being naturalized. He was in Paris when World War II broke out. In 1940, his friend and neighbor Lucie Wormser offered him to join her in the Zone Libre (free zone). As he was depressed, he refused her offer and committed suicide on August 3, 1942. He hung himself with his yellow badge pinned to his clothes. A few days later, Gestapo agents came to his home to arrest him. The concierge told them: “It is too late…” In his will, he bequeathed his estate to an association for the poor of Paris.

Stories of Jewish Artists of the School of Paris 1905-1939


Capitale des arts, le Paris des années 1905-1939 attire les artistes du monde entier. De cette période de foisonnement, un terme est resté, celui d'Ecole de Paris, qui recouvre une grande diversité d'expression artistique. Dans ce brassage dont Montparnasse est le creuset, un groupe se distingue : celui des artistes juifs venus de Russie, de Pologne et d'Europe centrale. Si leurs styles sont variés, un destin commun les rassemble : ils fuient l'antisémitisme de leur pays d'origine. Certains ont connu la célébrité dès les années 1920, tels Soutine, Lipchitz ou Chagall. D'autres n'ont pas eu le temps ou la chance d'y accéder. Près de la moitié a péri dans les camps de concentration nazis.

From 1905 to 1939, Paris attracted artists from all over the globe as the capital of the art world. This period of artistic proliferation became known as the School of Paris, and includes a great diversity of artistic expression. Within the teeming art world centred on Montparnasse, one group set itself apart: Jewish artists from Russia, Poland, and Central Europe. Although their styles were diverse, they shared the common fate of fleeing anti-Semitic persecutions in their home countries. Some became famous in the 1920s, such as Soutine, Lipchitz, and Chagall, while others did not have the time or the luck to gain renown. Nearly half of these artists died in Nazi concentration camps.